Books I am reading in 2020

I usually track my reading on Goodreads. Somehow I was not able to do that properly in the year 2019. Mostly becuase I re-read a lot of books in 2019 and Goodread doesn’t support that (I think. Let me know if you know how it can be done). This broke the chain and eventually the habit for me. This time I will track all my reading here and will be updating this page frequently. Any book read in the year 2020 can be found here

  1. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett (Reread) - The witches story arc is my second favorite arc in the Discworld series, just after the City Watch arc. This is one of the best books in this arc where the 3 witches go on an adventurous journey to prevent a fairytale wedding in defiance to all the folklore and stories that exist.

  2. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein - This was the first non-fiction book I read this year and I am happy with the choice. David, in his book, challenges the universally accepted theory of the benefits of early start and deliberate practice made popular by the bestselling book OUtlier by Malcolm Gladwell. A head start and dedicated and focussed training is considered a sure shot way of finding success. Using a lot of examples and data David shows how thats not really the case. He exhibits how, in almost every field, most of the people who succeed are the ones who started late having experienced various other activities and experiences before venturing into the field in which they succeeded, be it arts, sciences or medicine. He emphasizes on the importance of the breadth of learning over the deapth of learning.

    I liked this book a lot since I could personally relate to what the author was saying. I like to try a lot of things myself and get better at most of them to some extent. I could relate with most of the examples mentioned in the book. And the best outcome was the this book eliminated any self doubt that was there in my mind about “wasting” all this time in trying new things. It is a good book which I think you should give a try.

  3. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (Reread) - This is my second favorite book in the Discworld series and among the top 5 favorite books of all time. This was my third time reading (listening) to the book and honestly I can restart this book just as soon as I finish it. This book is a satire of religion, people and their minds and how religions change everything around them. The story shows in a ridiculously smart and humorous way how religions exists only to propogate themselves at whatever costs and do not need Gods to exist for that. The story reaches a ridiculous point where the God, who is the basis of one of the most poweful and fierce empire in the world, is rendered powerless becuase there is only one true believer in him in the entire empire.

    The beauty of this book is that you do not need to have read any of the previous books of the Discworld series to understand and enjoy it. It is a standalone story and as I have already mentioned, one of my all time favorites. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend this. You will enjoy it no matter what.

  4. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl - (Read detailed post here) It is one of those books that make you feel bad for not having picked them earlier. Well, better late than never. Actually I might actually read this book once every few years. This is how much I have been impacted by this book. The author was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived 4 concentration camps during the Holocaust. He is also the founder of logotherapy, which assumes the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. I will not try to explain this here because I don’t want to misrepresent anything about it due to my new and basic understanding of it. But the concept of ‘meaning of life’ makes sense to me. A book reads (listens, in my case) like an autobiographical essay where the author uses his own experiences at the concentration camps and other examples to drive home the idea that the ultimate goal of a man is to find meaning in life which he can live for.

  5. Less by Andrew Sean Greer - Arthur Less is on a world tour. Not becuase he wants to but becuase he wants to be as far away from his ex-boyfriends wedding as possible. Less, in his blue suit, travels around the world as he turns 50 really stumblig through the opportunities he encounters randomly. He almost dies in Germany where he goes to teach a course even when his German is shit, wins a prize in Italy becuase the Italian translator he done such a good job that his mediocre novel is a success there, almost gets stuck in the Saharan deserts and finally loses his blue suit in India. This book won the Pulitzer award in 2018, and it deserved it. This book is hilarious, quirky and makes you fall in and out of love with Less constantly. The book keeps you hooked till the end and when it ends you are left with the warm glow of having experiences such a literary marvel. I have read such a nice book after a very long time.

  6. How to Avoid Loss and Earn Consistently in the Stock Market by Prasenjit Paul - A 1000 results will come up if you try to seach books about investing in stock market and management of personal finance. The best of these books are written by authors outside of India who might teach you about the fundamentals but will not have examples you can relate to. Moreover, most of the books out there are a little heavy on the technical side which kind on becomes an entry barrier to most people. This is where Prasenjit Paul really shines. This is a simple, no-nonsense book which explains fundamentals in a way that anyone can understand it. It clearly highlights the commom miconceptions, malpractices and mistakes pertaining to the stock market and is a good primer for anyone thinking of getting into the stock market. There are no get-rich-quick schemes in this book. Instead, PP talks about how to create wealth in the long term.

  7. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari - This is one of those books that make you feel bad for not having read them as soon as they came out. Yuval is an author who has consistently been featured by Bill Gates in his annual book recommendations and sporadic book reviews. And rightfully so. I’ll be honest, 21 Lessons is the only book of Yuval’s that I have read but if the other books are like it I am pretty stoked for my reading list. About the book. There are no lessons as such - which might be a relief for most since this is not a self help book. Chapter by chapter Yuval reveals the big picture of how we are mostly consumed with worrying about things that are mostly inconsequential while not paying sufficient heed to the real threats to humanity. The best effect that this book had on me is putting a lot of contemporary issues in perspective. The increasing religious and nationalistic tendencies across the world, the risks of the rising of infotech and biotech developments and the imminent thread of us, the humans, becoming irrelevant - the book presents all these and much more in a thought-provoking manner. I am, politically, a left-leaning person. The books helped me understand the thought process of both sides. If you are a right-leaning person, it will do the same for you as well. All in all, this was a worthwhile investment of time. I would recommend this book to all.